Make Safe Messaging A Requirement When Reporting On Suicide

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I care about this cause because too many people I know have lost a loved one to suicide. Chances are, if you start a conversation, you know someone, too. 

Suicide is preventable. Reporting on suicide following safe messaging is one way you can help suicide prevention efforts

How? Safe messaging needs to be a requirement for journalists/media. The media reports on a suicide matters. The choice of language matters. When safe messaging isn't adhered to in reporting on suicide, there can be incredibly damaging (unintended) effects, placing more lives at-risk, because of suicide contagion. Think of recent celebrity deaths by suicide and how they were reported. The word "committed" likely comes to mind, information about the method, details about the note. These are just a few examples of language that continues to reinforce a dangerous stigma. You can help stop this!

By signing this petition, you are taking action to help prevent suicide - taking action to save lives. 

Suicide is a national public health concern. According to the New York Times, "Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults."

We all need to take responsibility and understand that the way we talk about suicide can influence behavior negatively if the recommendations for safe messaging aren’t followed. Reporting on suicide carefully can help change public misperceptions and encourage people who are at-risk or vulnerable to get help.

Suicide prevention efforts exist, persist, and extend far beyond the next big buzz story, which unfortunately is usually linked with tragedy. Let’s work together to make positive, safe mental health stories the lifeboat in this digital era.

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If you need support now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or, text “HELP” to 741-741 to get help 24/7 from the Crisis Text Line.

 



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Rachel Leah needs your help with “Society of Professional Journalists: Require Safe Messaging When Reporting On Suicide Before It's Too Late”. Join Rachel and 81 supporters today.